Brief on

swallowing disorder

When one experience difficulty in pushing the food or liquid down the throat causing repeated coughing and more effort for the same is called Dysphagia.

Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) means it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach. Dysphagia may also be associated with pain. In some cases, swallowing may be impossible.


Problem explained

The indicating symptoms of dysphagia or swallowing problem could be coughing or choking while eating, or trying to drink. This could happen every time or could be with certain foods or liquid with a particular consistency.   It could be due to an age-related problem [ muscle weakness ] or after some surgeries or illnesses.

Swallowing food is a complex process involving many organs and muscles.  Starting from looking at the food, when the brain sends signals to prepare the gut to receive, closing the airway to avoid food entering in to it, masticate or to grind with teeth, the tongue rotating for proper mixing with saliva for breaking down the food in to simpler form and helping in lubricating the gut for smoother passage of food to the stomach where further breaking down of food takes place which is then sent to the small intestine for absorption of nutrients.

Occasional difficulty in swallowing, which may occur while eating too fast or talking and eating, not chewing food enough, usually isn’t cause for concern. But persistent dysphagia means it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid, may require treatment. It  may also lead to malnourishment and dehydration which further weakens the patient, prolonging the recovery. Even though Dysphagia can occur at any age, it’s more commonly seen in older adults. The causes or swallowing problems or dysphagia may vary, and treatment depends on the cause.